Flavours on call at Anjali Pathak's food studio in Khar
We feel like we’ve sauntered onto a set of a television cookery show when we step into Flavour Diaries, a month-old food studio in a Khar bylane. Natural light fills through the French windows, washing over the cookbook-stacked mahogany shelves and vibrant sofas. Offering a view of verdant surroundings, the large space features state-of-the-art cooking stations and dining tables.
Chef Anjali Pathak at her cooking station in the studio. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
At the helm of one of the stations is the UK-born chef and food author Anjali Pathak, busy prepping for an hour-long Japanese sushi class. "The participants will learn how to make everything from scratch — including the teriyaki sauce, the flavoured rice and also, how to slice the sushi-grade salmon," informs Pathak, who moved to the city in March this year to venture into a start-up with her partner, Avinash Patchava. With a capacity of eight per class, Pathak teaches Thai, Mexican, Lebanese and Italian cuisines along with baking classes. The space is also open for tailor-made private dinners, hosting a chef’s table or even a corporate event.
Conducting a Japanese sushi making class
Into a spicy mix
Born into a family that started Patak’s, one of the most popular Indian food brands in the UK — selling spice mixes, pickles and other food products since 1950s — Pathak was introduced to Indian cuisine at an early age. "My grandmother bought a rolling pin and a board for me when I was three. Making chapatis was my first lesson in cooking and I loved it. At home, we would have Indian food four times a week and the other days, we would often spice up international dishes. For instance, lasagna tastes so much better if you add pickle to it. The tanginess cuts through the creamy sauce," reasons the 34-year-old author of Secrets From My Indian Family Kitchen, a cookbook comprising 120 Indian recipes, published in UK in February this year.
Learning the ropes
Trained extensively in Indian cuisine on-the-job in her family business, Pathak enrolled at London’s Leiths School of Food and Wine, and taught at one of Jamie Oliver’s cookery schools in London, to understand the nuances of international cuisine. Learning kitchen management skills from her stint, Pathak uses the same in her studio.
"Cooking should not stress you out. I want people to own every element of their dish, which they can easily replicate at home," she says while sharing, "With the popularity of MasterChef Australia, there is a growing interest in international cuisines and ingredients among Indians. I wanted to ride the current wave, while it is still young, which is why, I set up this studio now. However, when I moved here, I realised that many of these ingredients are expensive. So, I even teach participants how to make pasta dough, homemade tortillas and healthy versions of many recipes."
At: Third floor, Rohan Plaza, Fifth Road, above Khar Social, off SV Road, Khar (W).
This weekend, bake Christmas muffins, mince pies and festive cookies with Pathak, who will conduct three classes per day.
From: December 18 to 20
Time: 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm
Cost: Rs 1,200 (per class), Rs 800
(per class for children between eight to 12 years of age)
Go the Jamie way
"As a teacher at Jamie Oliver’s cookery school in London, I learnt the Jamie way, where cooking food is essentially having fun in the kitchen.
British chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver. Pic/AFP
You are hands-on at everything and borrow flavours from different parts of the world and add to the dish, if you like it."
— Chef Anjali Pathak
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